Friday, May 6, 2011

How Does/Can Social Media Impact Your Supply Chain and/or Business Strategy?

Of late there has been a lot of talk about the influences that social media plays in almost all the things we do in our daily lives. In fact, many people have argued that this new median for reaching larger audiences is now starting to affect the ways organizations conduct business, build relationships, and increase sales throughout the world while enhancing supply chain operations. Or is it?

As customer wants and the business landscape continues to change, we must also continue to look for ways to integrate social media into our daily business activities if we want to continue achieving the type of long-term growth most of us are looking for, or the old adage “innovate or die.” In a recent blog post (Cunha, 2011) discussed some of the ways that we can connect customers with things they want to buy in it what he terms “the Connected Experience” by discussing four important concepts (1) ERP, (2) Real-Time, (3) China, and (4) Software, while offering several detailed explanations of each.

(1)Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)- the corner stone of the supply chain, which offers a company the ability to plan, analyze, and/or implement new strategies in a timely manner in order to produce enough product in real-time. That is if the organization realizes the strengths and weaknesses in what their system(s) can do such as integrating your ERP system with a reputable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in order to track customer issues with product quality, other opinions, and reviews or through other medians such as Social Media.
(2)Real-Time- what many purchasing decisions are based on, especially now with social media, as these medians offer leaders the ability to track potential purchase decisions simply by tracking the number of likes, dislikes, comments, and/or discussions through almost any social media site, which is extremely important in small and large purchases alike.
(3)China- the research continues to show China a leader in retail marketing by their continued success in online trading platforms such as Alibaba, Made in China, Global Sources, etc. It is no secret that these as well as other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have and will continue to allow China and others the ability to reach mass audiences while streaming the way the products are purchased, distributed, and consumed all over the world. Either organizations will have to get on board or be left behind.
(4)Software- with a number of different enterprise systems available to organizations (ERP, VMI, APS, etc) obviously the key here is to understand what system can offer you the best ways to analyze data in order to make additional long-term strategic decisions. If you use one if not more of these systems with a mix of social media sites, you should be able to segment, create benchmarks, and correlations between your software solutions and your bottom-line results.

(Cunha, 2011) identified four important and relevant items that can help you and/or your organization collect, analyze, and assemble new ways to reach more people, hence streamlining your supply chain functionality. Regardless of the reasons, you use social media, it is becoming more important now a days to use it, and if you don’t then later you will more than likely end up asking yourself why you didn’t. As more and more companies continue to build their online presence, more and more people and businesses will continue to make purchases, while influencing others within their network to make the same purchases, which should indicate that your social networks can not only grow your business but also encourage new strategies for those involved in making strategic supply chain decisions. Ultimately, social media will never replace personal relationships but it should allow companies to build leaner supply chains, while connecting more brands with more consumers for any organization that competes in the market today.

Lastly, (Cunha, 2011) analysis like many of the others that I have continued to review over the course of my Doctoral work provides yet a few more reasons why this subject matter is extremely important not only to the continued evolution of supply chains systems but any system that social media has/will impact in the years ahead. Of course, other opinions, ideas, and suggestions are what will ultimately decide who, what, when or where consumers make a purchase but this subject should continue to drive business and purchasing decisions in some fashion in the foreseeable future, hence why this is such as important piece of the work that I continue to report and conduct. Of course, I am always up for your opinions and you can also contact Mr Cunha through my references at the bottom of this page.

Until, next time continuing smiling, achieving, and dedicated, as we all look for answers to the social media maze-- Cheers

Cunha, L. (2011). What does social media mean to your supply chain? Warehouse Management Systems Guide, retrieved on May 6, 2011 from:

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